The Arizona Cardinals Football Club today announced the hiring of Jonathan Gannon as the team’s head coach. He has agreed to terms on a five-year contract.
The 40-year old Gannon comes to the Cardinals after spending the past two seasons (2021-22) as the defensive coordinator for the Philadelphia Eagles.
Under Gannon, the Eagles boasted a top-10 defense in each of the past two seasons, ranking 2nd in total defense in 2022 (301.5 ypg) and 10th in the NFL in 2021 (328.8 ypg). This past season the Eagles also featured the NFL’s top-ranked pass defense (179.8 ypg) and the league’s 8th ranked scoring defense (20.2 ppg).
Philadelphia played in Super Bowl LVII at State Farm Stadium after beating San Francisco in the NFC Championship, won the NFC East in 2022 and finished the regular season as the #1 seed in the NFC with a 14-3 record. The Eagles made the postseason in each year Gannon was the defensive coordinator.
In 2022, the Eagles easily led the NFL with a franchise single-season record 70 sacks in the regular season. No other team in the NFL had more than 55. Philadelphia’s 70 sacks in 2022 were the most by any team in a single season since the 1989 Minnesota Vikings (71). Combined with their eight sacks in the postseason, the Eagles 78 total sacks in 2022 were the third-most in NFL history behind only the 1984 (82 sacks) and 1985 Chicago Bears (80 sacks). Philadelphia also tied for 4th in the NFL in both total takeaways (27) and interceptions during the regular season.
Between 2021-22, the Eagles defense led the NFL with 99 sacks, ranked 3rd in total defense (315.1 ypg), 3rd in pass defense (200.4 ypg), 6th in tackles for loss (168), tied for 4th in total return TDs (7) and interception return TDs (4) and tied for 10th in interceptions (29).
A Cleveland, OH native, Gannon has 15 years of experience in the NFL. Prior to working with the Eagles, he was the defensive backs/cornerbacks coach with the Indianapolis Colts (2018-20) and the assistant defensive backs/quality control coach with the Minnesota Vikings (2014-17) after working as a defensive assistant with the Tennessee Titans (2012-13). He spent three seasons (2009-11) as a scout with the St. Louis Rams after beginning his NFL coaching career as a defensive assistant with the Atlanta Falcons in 2007.
Gannon has coached with three different teams (Eagles, Colts, Vikings) who have combined for six playoff berths in the last eight seasons.
Some Jonathan Gannon highlights
• In Gannon’s two seasons as defensive coordinator with Philadelphia, four different Eagles players combined for five Pro Bowl selections: Darius Slay (2), Haason Reddick (1), Javon Hargrave (1) and Josh Sweat (1). Reddick, Hargrave and Sweat all earned their first career Pro Bowl selections playing in Gannon’s defense.
• Since individual sacks became an official stat in 1982, Philadelphia became the first team ever to have four different players with 10.0+ sacks in a single season when they did so in 2022: Haason Reddick (16.0), Brandon Graham (11.0), Javon Hargrave (11.0) and Josh Sweat (11.0).
• Under Gannon’s tutelage, Reddick ranked 2nd in the NFL with a career-high 16.0 sacks in 2022. He also led the NFL with five strip-sacks and tied for the NFL lead with five forced fumbles.
• At age 34, Graham had double-digit sacks for the first time in his career in 2022. He became the oldest player with 11.0+ sacks since Julius Peppers (37) and Terrell Suggs (35) in 2017.
• Last season, Hargrave’s 11.0 sacks were the most by an Eagles DT since Andy Harmon (11.5) in 1993.
• Another player who had a career year under Jonathan Gannon in 2022 was LB T.J. Edwards, who finished the regular season with 159 tackles, 2.0 sacks, seven passes defensed, 10 tackles for loss and a fumble recovery. His 159 tackles were a career high, ranked 7th in the NFL in 2022 and also represented the highest single-season total for an Eagles defender since Byron Evans (175) in 1992.
• Following three seasons in New Orleans, S C.J. Gardner-Johnson established a career high and tied for the NFL lead with six interceptions in his first season with the Eagles in 2022. Playing in Gannon’s defense, Gardner-Johnson had more interceptions in 2022 (6) than he had in his first three NFL seasons combined (5).
• Eagles CBs James Bradberry (3 INTs, 17 PD) and Darius Slay (3 INTs, 14 PD) finished the 2022 season as the only cornerback tandem in the NFL each with 14+ passes defensed and 3+ interceptions. Bradberry’s 17 passes defensed ranked 3rd in the NFL last season.
• Philadelphia (7 points allowed vs. NYG; 7 points allowed vs. SF) became the first team to allow seven points or fewer in multiple postseason games since the 2010 Baltimore Ravens (3 times). Prior to 2022, the last time Philadelphia gave up seven points or fewer in consecutive postseason games was during the 1949 and 1949 NFL Championships.
• In his first season with the Eagles in 2021, Gannon directed the NFL’s 10th-ranked defense (328.8 ypg). Philadelphia had the 2nd-most defensive TDs (5) and allowed the 5th-fewest explosive plays (117) in the league, also finished 9th in opponent rushing yards per game (107.9) and opponent three-and-out percentage (33.1%).
• During his three seasons with Indianapolis (2018-20), Gannon oversaw a secondary that helped the Colts rank 6th in the NFL in interceptions (45, tied), 9th in scoring defense (22.5 ppg) and 10th in total defense (339.5 ypg) and red zone defense (55.9%, tied) during that span.
• In Gannon’s final season with Indianapolis in 2020, the Colts defense had the 5th-most takeaways (25) in the NFL and ranked 7th in interceptions (15, tied), 8th in total yards allowed per game (332.1) and 10th in points allowed per game (22.6, tied). CB Kenny Moore (79 tackles, 13 PD, 4 INTs and 2.0 sacks) was the only defensive back in the NFL in 2020 with at least four interceptions and 2.0 sacks that season.
• In 2019, the Colts had the 7th-most interceptions (15) and 10th-most takeaways (23, tied) in the NFL. In 2018, Jonathan Gannon assisted a defense that amassed the 9th-most interceptions (15, tied) in the league and ranked 10th in takeaways (26, tied) and points allowed per game (21.5). Indianapolis forced at least one turnover in a league-best 15 games that season.
• As an assistant with the Vikings for four seasons (2014-17), Gannon helped the Vikings defense rank 2nd in the NFL in redzone defense (48.6%), 3rd in total defense (319.9 ypg), scoring defense (18.8 ppg), passing defense (214.6 ypg) and third-down defense (35.1%). CB Xavier Rhodes (2016-17) and S Harrison Smith (2015-17) were selected to multiple Pro Bowls during Gannon’s tenure.
• Jonathan Gannon played collegiately as a defensive back at Louisville in 2002 before suffering a career-ending hip injury. Following his playing days, he spent three seasons (2003-05) as a student assistant at Louisville and then worked there as a graduate assistant in 2006.
He and his wife, Gina, have three children – daughter, Lola, and sons, Rocco and Angelo.